The value and life of a park – Public discussion on our parks

Kelvingrove barriers

Every so often we are, if you even know about it, consulted by Glasgow City Council, about what we want in our public parks. At the last consultation I don’t remember the public agreeing that we should have much more in the way of lock-out festivals and expensive, ticketed, gigs, taking up great swathes of our park space over the summer period when we need the park most. The problem with these consultations is is that they just seem like exercises in get consensus to allow more commercialisation of the park.

The problem is as we see it is. The public do not just need consulted in these matters, we need to be involved in the discussion that leads to decisions. And to be involved in the discussion we need also to be aware of all of the facts relating to not only to the decisions made in our behalf, but also the longer term impact that these decisions will have on our green space.

The value of parks needs to be equated by more than the shallow monetary value put on them and the superficial business orientated consultations which add up to the same thing. The city administration and public need to start taking these thing seriously and understand the real value that is attached to our city parks.

When somebody tells you “Nobody uses it” “The parks have to pay for themselves”  along with the sometimes pathetic excuses used to allow building on green space by developers and city administrators alike. We need to, (particularly our young who have most to lose,) be able to give them a cost benefit analysis on our green space and on how parks more than pay for themselves by:

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Detoxing the environment

The production of oxygen

The removal of carbon dioxide and other toxins

Creates water drainage and anti-flooding

Wild life habitats.

Solar energy

Benefits for mental health.

The vistas and sense of space as a release from manic traffic.

A space to exist as a family unit. Reduces friction, stress and family break-ups.

Escape from city stress that leads to crime and violence.   

Building block for a sense of community

Autonomous space equality for everybody.

No commerce.

Safe for bikes, safe for football, amateur sports, productions, events, physical space 

Freedom of speech Speakers Corner. Tradition of protest, Rally’s

Last bastion of space for the poorest in our communities.

The countryside in the city

An excellent recipe for childhood education, physics and science in nature

Stagnant ponds could be rejuvenated by solar power fountains. And introducing the person on the street to science…

The park belongs to no one and to everyone.

Look at just one element of our parks, trees.

Evergreen trees can be used to reduce wind speed (and usefully, loss of heat from your home in the winter by as much as 10 to 50 percent.)

Trees absorb and block noise and reduce glare. A well placed tree can reduce noise by as much as 40 percent.

Fallen tree leaves can reduce soil temperature and soil moisture loss. Decaying leaves promote soil microorganism and provide nutrients for tree growth.

Trees help settle out and trap dust, pollen and smoke from the air. The dust level in the air can be as much as 75 percent lower on the sheltered side of the tree compared to the windward side.

Trees create an ecosystem to provide habitat and food for birds and other animals.

Trees absorb carbon dioxide and potentially harmful gasses, such as sulphur dioxide, carbon monoxide, from the air and release oxygen.

One large tree can supply a day’s supply of oxygen for four people.

A healthy tree can store 13 pounds of carbon each year – for an acre of trees that equals to 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide.

Each gallon of gasoline burned produces almost 20 pounds of carbon dioxide.

For every 10,000 miles you drive, it takes 7 trees to remove the amount of carbon dioxide produce if your car gets 40 miles per gallon (mpg); it will take 10 trees at 30 mpg; 15 trees at 20 mpg; 20 trees at 15 mpg; and 25 trees at 12 mpg)

Trees help reduce surface water run-off from storms, thus decreasing soil erosion and the accumulation of sediments in streams. They increase ground water recharge and reduce the number of potentially harmful chemicals transported to our streams.

An acre of trees absorb enough carbon dioxide in a year to equal the amount produced when you drive a car 26,000 miles.

Readers of City Strolls will have been listening to this over the last ten years. “The parks are in the process of being privatised” The problem is what citizens are unaware of the business developments that have been been happening over that time, untill they see the barriers going up around their park.

Recently Edinburgh city council deemed the hoardings closing off the view of Princess street gardens for a concert as being inappropriate. The hoardings in question were removed within an hour of the councils edict.

Maybe the start of resistance to the kind of  pay per view being enforced on the access of public spaces. Something we have seen increasingly across Glasgow parks and common spaces. With little or no objections that we are hearing about, from the administrators of our commons, parks and particularly in the lack of stewardship of our Common Good Fund.

So the thinking here is that most park users have a general idea of what the park is there for. Because what people use the park for hasn’t changed much over the last hundred years? Why do we need to be convinced “that the parks need to be fixed before they are broken” (Quote from a council parks survey) “The parks need to pay for themselves, and we are helping in this” (From events organiser with vested interests.)

Why are we constantly asked in consultations. “What do we need in our parks?” Most would answer “Access to our culture and heritage, toilets and a few parkies” But the questions are really designed by each preceding city administration to fulfil their own need through our parks. i.e. the quickest way to emptying our wallets to generate commercial profits.

So what we want to look at here is an event that looks at the cause and effect of the commercial developments being rolled out in our parks. How can we better understand how to challenge the inappropriate use of our parks

And Strategies for better stewardship of parks and green spaces to reverse the commercial decline. How to work towards a long term vision for our green space that serves users and can supersede decisions on park use made by short term administrations who may not have the public’s and park users best interests at heart.

This article relates to an event to be held in Kinning Park Complex at “Parks for people” How to become involved in the discussion and understanding the importance of green space in our lives, economically, physiologically, health wise, environmentally, politically, historically and creatively.

Join us for a debate  at Kinning Park Complex on what our parks are for. (dates will be poster soon)

Times and Speakers to be confirmed. If you want to help out contact or join list.


Radical Imagination/Common Good Awareness Project/Tardis

Friends of Kelvingrove Park – the Bandstand’s true heroes

Kids fun day 2 (1995) copy

Opening ceremony 2014 – Kids Fun Day 1995

Following from

A shout of frustration, not protest, rang out at today’s re-opening ceremony for the Kelvingrove Bandstand and Amphitheatre, writes Ginny Clark. Continue reading

The official unveiling of this much-loved and now beautifully refurbished Bandstand was marked by grand speeches and some fantastic music from community jazz band Brass, Aye and local schools Hillhead High and Sgoil Ghaidlig Ghlaschu. It was a great moment for all those involved in the £2.1million project – read more about the history, background and details here and here.

Amid the speeches, there was a mention for the Friends of Kelvingrove Park in the ‘thank-yous’ list from Glasgow Buildings Preservation Trust (GBPT) chair Pat Chalmers.

But when it came to handing out souvenir pictures to all of the project partners’ proud – and rightly so – representatives, a question rang out from the back of the amphitheatre: ‘Where’s the picture for Friends of Kelvingrove Park’? From the stage, there was an off-script reply that GBPT would get a picture sorted out for the organisation ‘later’.

But to many local onlookers, in this high-profile and highly successful city project, it seemed the efforts of the Friends of Kelvingrove Park had perhaps not been given the recognition they deserved.

This group began to raise concerns about the Bandstand throughout the 1990s, a driving force that became a fully-fledged campaign to restore the building and retain it as a valuable community asset of great historical value. In 2002 the Friends of Kelvingrove Park carried out the feasibility study into a possible restoration project – and one year later Glasgow City Council had approved the plan in principal.

Yet it took another seven years of hard lobbying by the Friends of Kelvingrove Park – backed by a strong grassroots support – to secure the city council’s commitment and initial funding to at last progress the restoration. As plans for this year’s Commonwealth Games gathered force, so too did the prospect of securing the Bandstand as part of its legacy. By 2010,  the project was rolling – and today’s ceremony marked the culmination of a classy restoration job by Glasgow City Council, GBPT and Glasgow Life.

However, what this community knows for sure is that without the tireless efforts of Friends of Kelvingrove Park, the B-listed Bandstand and Amphitheatre would not be a unique and shining outdoor venue – but still lie decaying, a derelict shell.

See more about Friends of Kelvingrove Park here

Pink Elephants in the Botanic’s.

(Avoid seeing what the council want’s you to see)
When defending the public estate – Why we should never engage in discussions about architecture

One of the oldest battle tactics in the book as any old campaigner will tell you is – drawing the enemies fire. This technique is designed to confuse the opponent into spending their ammunition and energy on false targets, such as misleading information and superfluous detail – thus exhausting the voice of dissent. Many of these tricks can be easily adapted to any business – and are the main stay of big business. (In this case the enemy are the general public the technique is known as public relations, formerly known as propaganda)

In practice it could go like this.

When the developer is met by a difficult site, a community grassed area for instance, that is to say they want to build 150 flats (when they are only really after 30 or so). The people protest, the developer bends over backwards reducing the number of demanded flats each month (or year) until the campaigners have fallen off, or are exhausted, by this time the developer begins to look reasonable in his or her pursuit to please everyone, especially with the help of the newspapers (who will eventually help to advertise the flats or property) Result for community – More green space disappears. Campaigners – gain knowledge of building regulations and aesthetics. Developer – 30 flats built – Mission accomplished.

Land control and the parks issue

It becomes easier for the pure profit industry when no one is fighting the core issue, which incidentally is the same across Britain. Land! Control the land and you control everything else. We should not be giving credence to the council by even discussing the details of there plans regarding commercialising parks. Listening to the organ grinders monkey, [Robert Booth] discussing non existent fantasy plans, dreamed up by a developer – will get us nowhere. Mr Booth is only there to absorb the flack while the real business goes on in the background.

We need to remember the issue is “business control of our parks” – not the detail of what the council at the behest of business are deciding – is or isn’t going to be built on them.

One for all

The privatisation of our parks, has been on the cards for a couple of years – since the sham consultation that will put all of our parks in the same situation. The problem is, as in the case of the recent campaigns, folk tend to deal with the problem, only when the dilemma arrives at there own door, Sometimes that’s to late.

NIMBYism ?

“Yes it is NIMBYism” I hear at a protest meeting, which means don’t put it in my back yard, put it in somebody else’s. This is a bad tactic to use for Glasgow parks. Might work if it was a nuclear power station when only a few are doted round the country, But, if what “you” don’t want in your park ends up in the park up the road, (or any other park in the city) it will eventually come back to haunt you in some form. If you fight for one park you might as well fight for them all. They are all of our parks for all of the people, rich or poor. and a harm to one is a harm to all. If we do not know this yet, the King’s and colonisers of this city will be very happy – NIMBYism suits the council.

Key to control

The consultation doc says – >”2. Community involvement is one of the keys to success in the regeneration of our parks.” < “Community involvement” in council-speak, means, as the following passage will illustrate – dividing up parks to make local residents easier to manipulate and control.

We need to keep our parks a city entity

Someone at the Save our Botanic’s meeting, when listening to a comparison with Kelvingrove park, said “What has Kelvingrove go to do with the Botanic’s?” The answer is everything. Take a walk round Kelvingrove. (Glasgow’s most popular park, right next to the Art galleries – well used and full of tourists.) You will find in Kelvingrove park disused and abandoned building in the form of toilets, a derelict bandstand, kids swings that have disappeared, kiddies swings that are rotting and falling apart, paths full of holes, broken fencing, and so on. Why you wonder is one of Glasgow’s most well used and popular parks going to blite? You might well wonder why the same park has a dedicated and caring friends group who have not only protected the park from the onslaught of developers for years, protected the wild life, kept the public well informed about what is happening in their park, and have toiled for years (14) to put the park bandstand back into public use.

The councils biggest worry is real community involvement

Of course, there is a major problem here with the reinstate the bandstand effort in Kelvingrove and it is seriously worrying for the council, because the bandstand project is a public initiative, not a business one. Even the Council admit that this is a great idea and it has been support by most local people, who know about it and within the councils grand scheme of things would cost peanuts. The reason this project is being buried in petty bureaucracy, has nothing to do with cost (or pathetic excuses like riddled with asbestos [Booth] The real reason is – Can you imagine the bad example (for the council) this would create for other parks in Glasgow. Local people having a say and interest about decisions for what they need in there own parks? Can you imagine the Botanic’s campaign having this as a good example of what can be achieved by local people in local parks? – if the idea had happened years ago as it should have done, other park groups such as Save the Botanic’s, could be saying, “look what they did in Kelvingrove, why can’t we do that in our park”

The battle for the bandstand in Kelvingrove, is part of the same battle that every other park in glasgow will eventually be fighting. The reinstatement of Kelvingrove bandstand would send a clear message to the public as well as the council of what we “do” want in our parks – as well as what we don’t want.


The Kings and the councils have endless budgets (a lot of it ours) for spreading propaganda in order to brow beat and cajole the public into believing what they do is wonderful. In comparison, all most campaigns have is there wit, imagination, a photocopier and a few quid if their lucky. We can not fight these people using their tools. We will not win engaging in their terms. The issue in the Botanic’s, Pollok park, as elsewhere is a Common Good issue (in the fullest sense) not architecture and facilities – and should be dealt with the same way that Springfield Park, (Scotstoun) dealt with another wonderful scheme the council came up with – to build 600 odd car parking spaces on the parks football pitches. “No cars in our park period”, was the message the council carried off ringing in their ears.

No private business in any of our parks period. No discussion about architecture and a few low paid jobs – nothing in our parks that cant be removed easily should be our message to the council. (if the lessons of history mean anything)

Our city is being brutalised by public funded administrators whose vision for Glasgow is based on oil and the car, which is a primitive dying technology. While even in American cities, freeways building is in decline, and some are being converted into greenspace – meanwhile our city chiefs are still engaged in carrying out ancient plans (which even they know are moribund) to construct 8 lane motorways. Who will gain? Banks. Think about it council people – If we end up looking like Manchester – tourists will go to Manchester.
We have beautiful, unique, autonomous, uncluttered, uncommercialised, therapeutic open green space called Glasgow Parks. People will come to our city for that, and do. And in a few years time when we can’t move in our grid locked cars. When we can’t just pop into the 4×4 and dash to the country. That’s when we, and our children, will appreciate the effort we took in caring for our open space. It’s the only place we will have in the city to stay sane.

What the city needs now is not NIMBYism but a Glasgow wide campaign to stop the theft of our Common Good. All of our common good. All of our parks. I don’t think we will do this, just because we know the law, or can read an architects drawing, or have time to sit up the University library researching text books. These are very useful tools, but they do not motivate the majority of folk into action and that’s what we need if we want to stop the colonisers taking over our city.
The whole is much greater than the sum of it’s parts. The parks issue which I think is one of the most important public concerns to arise in years and is part of a much wider strategy to monopolise public life into private finance.

In a positive note, I think it could be an opportunity for a show of public solidarity just when all of our communities might need it most, when all parts of the city are being ravished and folks needs are being put to the subservience of banks. To use the words of Glasgow City Council PR machine. “An opportunity has been recognised” – and we would be daft to ignore it.

All of our Parks – for all of our people – Unite the fight for the common good. See what you want to see, not what your told you’ll see.

The scottish office is open for business.

Common Good Links

Constructing Neoliberal Glasgow

The common Good in Scotland Film

Save Pollok Park

Save the Botanic’s

Save our parks

Klondike park (Kelvingrove)

In case people are unaware the authorities are proposing to build a school in Kelvingrove Park. The experts see the idea as a wonderful opportunity, most parents and locals involved see the idea as stupid. I find it difficult to waste time on their reasoning for this school anymore. The basic difference is. One side want there kids to go to a safe, secure, local educational, environment and the other can only think of how to make money from anything, (that’s public) they can get there hands on.

From our own Correspondent: Reporting from the abstract dream world, of the modern day urban coloniser:

Here are my notes from the school meeting – I think they held a separate one for parents only – WHY? – to split the opposition?

Notes from meeting at Hillhead High School 14th June 2007:

I found stuff online about the fight to save Victoria Park which began “Beware the statement ‘ We have a unique opportunity’….”
Then I realised that the opening statement at the School meeting was ” This is an OPPORTUNITY to provide an educational building in a UNIQUE setting. It’s all about childrens’ education.”

Pointing to a map of the depot & the rest of the park, Henry McKeown (spokesperson for the architects) said ” The green bit is the extended park adjacent to the site”……..
“There is a perception that the site is intruding into the park, because it’s called ‘the school in the park’. It is in fact a hole in the ground and a tarmac park depot” – (doesn’t have quite the same romantic ring….. ) -“we reckon putting a little school in it will enhance rather than detract”.

“The site is approx 15mins walk for all the kids from the catchment areas of Dowanhill, Kelvinhaugh, Willowbank & Hillhead. Public transport from all areas.”

There was ‘spirited discussion’ about idealistic v realistic assumptions about how many kids WILL walk or cycle to & from school and how much extra traffic will be generated. It was pointed out that there is no public transport of any kind available to the kids from Kelvinhaugh.The resulting silence & exchange of glances suggested that this might have been news to them.

The layout of the building was shown:
Main entrance for pedestrians (pupils,teachers & visitors) at the “historic upgraded(recycled) gates at Otago St”
Also pedestrian and “drop off point ” at Kelvin Way.
“We intend to use existing historic features upgraded/recycled”.
“Trees will remain, to hide the school building which will remain anonymous”
A photo was shown to illustrate how the building will be completely hidden by the trees. It will be “incredibly sensitive to environmental and ecological considerations”

* (How about ‘the incredibly sensitive & anonymous school’ instead of ‘the school in the park’?)

There will be a playground on the Gibson St side and 4 other play spaces.
At Otago St. there will be a ramp up to the entrance and an art installation on the side of the ramp.

There will be no corridors except an “umbilical”?! to “negotiate the existing house” but they may in time purchase the house for more play space. The classrooms will all be “one-sided around a social space”.
“It will be driven by a whole sustainable agenda – and renewable energy.”
There will be a car park for 23? spaces (access from Westbank Quad.) concealed under the playground.
There will be a big collecting point/play area off Kelvin Way.
The classrooms will have a grass roof which will be “sustainable in terms of run off of rain water”
They have a landscape architect from Berlin “where they’re very avant garde about these things.”

Dr Colin Begg of 5 University Ave. expressed concerns about noise, litter, traffic & parking and the proximity of the 2storey building to the back court of his flat.

“Pupil numbers will start at 490 and will decline to 420 in the near future.” Questioned about that McNab said “Our figures are based on registrar figures.”

Q: Don’t children do better at smaller schools?
A: Is 90 or 98 viable in an urban setting?
More ‘spirited discussion’…..

Parking will “categorically” remain as it is at present on Otago St. There will be no parent parking provided.
There will be zigzag lines outside that entrance.
The 3 existing crossings on Gibson St should be adequate.

They intend to restrict parking at certain times on Kelvin Way to enable parents to drop off kids.
It was pointed out that University people park there from early morning. “They will just have to park elsewhere, in the mornings and move their cars later”.
“Parents will be discouraged from driving children to school – children will be strongly encouraged to walk or cycle or use public transport. Teachers will be strongly encouraged to use public transport.” ( Much heated discussion)
“We will be doing a traffic impact assessment.”
Q: Why has that not been done before reaching this stage?
A: Blank stares.

Q: Where will the depot be located?
A: Gartcraig.

Q: What about grass-cutting machines & other vehicles necessary for day to day maintenance of Kelvingrove?
A: There will be a small depot area at the tip of the site (at existing internal park gate. Some vehicles will be brought from other areas of the city.

Q: Doesn’t that defeat the stated objective of cutting down fuel consumption, by discouraging people from using cars?
A: Some vehicles go out just now, but some will come in in future – so there will be a balance…..

Q: Is there any chance of overturning this, or is it a rubber stamp?
A: ( Visible surprise at the question) The Council has asked that a school be put on that site.

Parent: Hillhead is 300 pupils at the moment.
Reply: But it WILL decline I can assure you…
(Argument & disagreement re projected birth rate.)

The school would be capable of taking MAX 630 kids
21 classes at 30 each.

“Extending the site” was mentioned as a possibility at a later date….
Q: What do you mean ‘extend’ the site? Do you mean extend further into the park?
( HESITATION and more glances exchanged)
A: Flexibility within the site to accommodate more children. Extend within the site – up to the 2020s….. (only 13 years,then what?)
School is expected to last for 60 – 70 years at least.
Cost: £10.1million.

Questions & discussion about why consideration was not given to repairing say 2 of the old schools, instead of building a new one.
Q: What other sites were looked at? (Uneasy shifty glances)
A: Looked at a site near Dowanhill school, but it was a childrens’ play area, so we’d have been removing an existing amenity(Dowanhill Park!).
Also the ‘Park & Ride’ at Kelvinbridge, but it’s still owned by the railway and it sometimes floods, and has a rat problem.
We couldn’t find anywhere else (lamely).

Q: Would you have had to buy other sites and this one’s free?
A: With respect – YOU would have to buy it because Council Tax would be put up to pay for it.

“The football pitch will certainly have a fence round it.
It could have ivy trained through mesh to make it environmentally acceptable.”

Q: The depot is within the boundary of the park. Therefore if the depot is taken away, shouldn’t the area become landscaped parkland?
A (from MacDonald): Is the depot open at night just now for a dauner through?

“We asked people to respond to consultation – it used to be more simple, but since April we now have to go through consultation….”
“We have also consulted with the Executive ‘taste police’, who are positive about it, but still have to respond.”

Comment by 22nd June.
“Comments will be put into part of the report which goes to planning committee to be looked at.
Planners ask what’s been done to satisfy stakeholders.”

Windows & materials not finalised yet.

Heated exchanges about parking,traffic & notification –

Point made that mail sent to ‘Owner/Occupier’ often goes straight into the bin.

Q: Was there a stringent/aggressive attempt to source and notify all the ‘neighbours’?
A: McNab read out the whole list of people & groups informed.

Submission goes in 25th June.

Q: Ask Ruth Smith how this fits in with her vision for Gibson St. – (hadn’t heard her name before – maybe from planning?)
A: She’s actually quite happy about it.
Q: Is she giving you one story and me another?

Q: You mentioned the white house earlier. What’s the position about that?
A: I met the “rather charming lady who lives in the white house. She is concerned at having 500 kids and a school built around her and will go away and think about it.

“The land is owned by the Council, so the Council is the developer.
The architect is a consultant architect.”

Ian McNab: Council
Ian MacDonald: Education
Steve McFadyen: Parks
Mike Hyatt: Landscape
JM Architects:Henry McKeown (main speaker) & two architects (Luke Therman & ? )
Guy Wimble: Ironside Farrar
Alan Booth: Environmental
Walter McNeill: Project Officer

and about 6 members of the public! (and Cllr Martha Wardrop)

Save the backpark

The Backpark is not a highly visible piece of land – it is at the back of the railway line, back of the houses, back of garage, back of old cinema at Cathcart Road near Holmiea Road.
Historically this has been a green space where kids ride bikes, play football, people walk dogs, foxes and bats hunt; where the railway embankment is covered in trees and bushes, and you can see the stars shine on a clear night.. Adjoining the backpark are Cathcart Allotments.
This area was listed as recreational space but in August 2003 Glasgow City Council changed this to surplus to requirements and zoned it for housing. No local residents or organisations were consulted on this.
There are currently plans before the Council from ASHomes to build 90 flats with parking spaces on this piece of land. This will mean not only the loss of recreational space but at least 90 (eventually 130) cars daily will add to the air pollution, noise pollution and congestion of an already known accident black spot. There is already excessive on street parking of cars of workers at Scottish Power and Weir’s Pumps although the area is served by good public transport. Taking into account three other developments all within half-a-mile will mean 250 extra cars in a year’s time in this area. This is all over and above the developments recently in place in Kingspark, Newlands, Old Castle Road, Shaw lands etc. This development will reach 7 storeys and 6 storeys in height. The flat roof design does nothing to ameliorate how out of place this development v> ill look, and not in the least in character with Cathcart.
The local primary school is on the main road and the only remaining green space is on the main road and round which the buses travel. Glasgow City Centre has one of the worst air pollution problems in Europe. We must stop it moving to the suburbs.
There is no Community Centre in Cathcart; the nearest sports centres are Toryglen, Castlcmilk or Pollokshiclds; the nearest swimming pools are Gorbals and Castlemilk (since Calder Street is now closed down). It’s time the Council gave something back.
There are alternative suggestions which would be of greater asset to the community. The allotment holders have previously expressed an interest in expanding their area. There is interest in renovating the football pitch. A cycle path, a skateboard park – a sensory garden with good disabled access would be very welcome.
Please help us tight to save the loss of another green breathing space.

Parks – On consulting the public

Why is the parks public consultation document not on the side of a bus?

No more so than in Glasgow, has a city befallen the all pervading culture of public relations. Every surface throughout our municipality, is loaded with the signs, images and the marketing philosophy of a vibrant, connected, city

We appear to be surrounded by experts, who deliver the message to the people, the way it is, up to date, on the spot, in your face, where and when it maters.


However his piercing”getting to the heart of the mater”, applied by Glasgow City Council, to profit and business interests, seems to wan somewhat, when important issues of public interest is concerned.

How come, with this publicity relations machine, that serves the above mentioned well and cost the tax payer plenty, seems to render itself redundant, when the tax payer needs it most.

Why when it comes to important issues such as; the future of our parks and green space, the council manage to bury the relevant documents so deep, that even when found; offer no reference, comment, views, debate that would help or encourage the public to form an considered opinion.

Why are the Glasgow public tripping over giant banners and posters concerning the “Glasgow Style” campaign, which is irrelevant, meaningless, embarrassing and costly to the average citizen. How much would it cost, compared to the above, to place a notice board in every park in glasgow outlining the councils proposals, ideas, and questions, concerning public green space?


I visited Glasgow’s peoples palace recently to find a massive area of the Glasgow Green, cordoned off by sheet metal hoarding’s. When I enquired I was informed a concert was to be held there the following Saturday. Given this was Saturday the work had been going on for a day or two and would go on after the event a day or two, cleaning up, grass damaged and so on. This means a large area of park will be taken up by a business event for two weeks. £79 for a two day ticket – with more events planned.

Not far up the road past the Peoples Palace, in the same park, next to the swing park (which is free) there is a fenced off fairground, which cost a £1 entrance plus the extortionate price of the rides.

Why is a business interest allowed to pitch an expensive fairground event on public property, charge an entrance fee to an area of public park, right next to a free public swing park? Ask any parent of smaller children, especially those on low income, what they think of this one.

The “West End Festival” and other amateur events have been commandeered by the carnival of business which is a precursor in privatising our parks. What used to be community events ar practically devoid of community apart from in name, and are being homoginised by the noise of fairground and hot dogs. You know longer go to an charity event in the park, to hold a bird of prey on your arm and get your picture taken for a £1 to impress your friends, or buy some home made cake (not that long ago I might add) You go to the charity event in the park to be drowned by noise, screaming weans, radio show broadcasts, expensive trash, and overpowered PA systems.

Stealth tactics

At present a skateboard park is being constructed in Kelvingrove park. Seemingly, according to the Glasgow “Evening Times” the skateboard park is being constructed after 20 years lobbying? By whom one wonders? There was another skateboard park in Kelvingrove park in the 70s, about a hundred yards away from where the new one is situated, (now filled in as flowerbeds). The reasons given for the closure of the old skatepark, were safety concerns think the closure was more to do with the residents being pissed-off by all the kids invading the area, rather than the safety issues. Boarders were coming in from miles around to use the facility. And let’s face it, on the safety issue, the council are a lot more safety conscious (paranoid) now, than they were then.

I am not against building skateboard parks per se, But I did like the do it yourself mix culture that went on at the flat skate park, which the new skateboard area is built over. Maybe it is just me being paranoid after reading the “park consultation document”. To many questions seeking consensus for mixing business interests with public interests. Skateboarding was amateur in the seventies, today its big business. Now the questions I am asking are. Did the parks department/council, out of kindness build a specialised site just to keep skateboarders happy, to the detriment of the kids who used the do-it-yourself space

Or could it be to do with pushing the Trojan horse of commerce through the doors of our parks in the innocuous pursuit of “doing things for children” ie replacing autonomous creative space to specialised interests space as part of a strategy to privatising public parks? I hope not, but I would be foolish not to read the signs that are common to privatisation tactics.

The above is not meant to poo poo everything that goes on in public parks, but to encourage what does go on – remains in the publics (shared) interest.

For this to happen we need to engage in the debate.


The Park


You don’t know what you have until you lose it. There would never a more fitting statement concerning “The park”. We have learned to take the city park, so much for granted. And why not. It is our right. The park is a public space.

The park performs an important social function in the life of the city dweller. The fact that the park hasn’t changed much in its basic structure, amenities, and uses over the last hundred years, bears witness to its success. The reason for this is simple.The park is where you go to escape the rat race.

Why invite it in?

The obliteration of every bit of green space in town is near completion, or will be under threat, sooner or later. Already inroads have been made to accommodate the same development strategy in our parks. That is to replace the tranquil nature of the park with the noise of business; to obliterate amateur, community, events, with commercial attractions and hamburgers- that will pave the way for -Park Commerce Facilitation Ltd or some such scheme.

The colonisation of our parks by business has already begun, even before the “Parks Public Conciliation Document” has been completed. (What is that you say)

Our parks could join the fate of the places listed below. We can not afford to wait until it is to late. We need to protect the autonomy of our park’s so that future generations can share in the respite from the grind of city life, that we enjoy and what the park offers. The park works to serve this function because of its uncluttered simplicity. Unless we engage in the debate to preserve the park for people now!, we will soon be unheard above the noise of those with other ideas.


Some Glasgow Greenfield / Leisure sites lost or currently under threat*

* This list does not include all those listed by the National Playing Fields Association!

· Yorkhill Park (part) – approved for residential development

· Highburgh Street – back court area

· Hillhead Bowling & Tennis Club, Newlands – planning permission granted to Cala Homes for 15 flats –

· Partickhill Tennis Courts – under threat

· Dowanhill Tennis Club – under threat

· Woodend Bowling Club – under threat

· Former North Kelvinside school playing field – developed for housing

· Holmlea Road Back Park – housing development

· Land adjacent to Kelvindale Primary School – under threat

· Land at Cathcart Road – approved for 90 flats

· Land at Anniesland Road – housing development

· Land at Pollok – loss of playing field space

· Novar Drive Scout Hall – residential development approved

· Cathcart Road Back Park – rezoned for housing – proposal for 90 flats

· Great George Street/Cecil Street , Hillhead – proposal for 12 flats on small grassed area. (From, Loss of green space is slammed)

Strategic Review of Parks and Open Spaces Public Consultation – April 2004

Glasgow City Council Land Services

Strategic Review of Parks and Open Spaces

Public Consultation – April 2004

Response Paper


Glasgow’s parks and open spaces have provided opportunities for active and passive recreation, relaxation, play, peace and tranquillity for generations of Glaswegians. As the pressures of the modern world increase, it is vital that these opportunities are still available for all and it is therefore very important that the Council works to ensure the parks and open spaces service develops to reflect the changing needs of the city and its people.

Sustainable development – meeting our needs today, without affecting the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, is a significant challenge to councils, individuals, communities and businesses. Our parks and open spaces make a crucial contribution to the sustainability of the city and this public consultation document is intended to provide opportunities for everyone to help the Council ensure that the city’s parks and open spaces achieve their true potential.

Glasgow’s future will be increasingly based on tourism, finance, the media, technology and other services. Our parks and open spaces can play a key role in supporting this future by ensuring Glasgow remains a “dear green place”.


Councillor Aileen Colleran
Parks and Facilities Committee


Purpose of the Consultation

Glasgow City Council is presently undertaking a review of its parks and open spaces service. This consultation document sets out the main elements for consideration by all groups, agencies and members of the public who wish to express preferences for the way they would like to see the service managed and developed in the future.

You are invited to comment on a range of issues through a series of questions, which have been gathered from an initial analysis of the service.

It is important to the success of the review that the views and opinions of the public are actively sought and considered as part of the review process. This gives you an opportunity to help shape the parks and open spaces service to better meet your needs and preferences.

This consultation document contains a range of issues facing parks and open spaces which require your consideration. We would like to hear your views on the following:

• Have we addressed the right issues?
• What do you think we should do about them?
• Are there other issues that we need to look at?

Following this public consultation process a strategy document will be produced which will demonstrate how Glasgow’s parks and open spaces can be developed and improved to fully support the regeneration of Glasgow for both residents and visitors.

Please feed back your views to us by filling in this document, if you need more space, please continue on a separate sheet and include this with the document. When you are finished, please return to;

Parks Review
Glasgow City Council
G2 7BR

Alternatively, you can respond online at

The consultation period will close on Friday 9 July 2004.

All responses received by this date will be entered into a free prize draw for one of the following;

One Glasgow City Council Golf Season Ticket for unlimited play at all 5 courses for 1 year

One Block of 5 Horse riding lessons at Linn Equestrian Centre

3 pairs of Tickets for Live n’ Loud at Glasgow Green

5 Family tickets for the Glasgow Show at Victoria Park

A bouquet of Flowers delivered to your home from Glasgow Flowers (5)

**** To be eligible for the draw, please complete the section at the end of this document

All the comments and views we have received by 9 July will be considered and used to develop the new parks and open spaces strategy. The final strategy document will be published in autumn 2004.


1. Glasgow’s parks and open spaces provide a variety of different services and form a
fundamental part of the urban environment.
Parks and open spaces have:-
An environmental role.
An educational role
A role in providing for the recreation and leisure needs of the community.
A role in providing opportunities for passive leisure.
An ecological role
An economic role
What do you consider to be the most important role(s) of parks and open spaces?
What do you consider to be the most important role(s) of parks and open spaces?

2. Community involvement is one of the keys to success in the regeneration of our parks. This fosters ownership by the community and encourages people to respect and use their parks.
How could Land Services improve the level of community involvement in relation to parks and open space improvements?

Community involvement in relation to parks

3. As the Council develops the city, regenerating and renewing neighbourhoods, sometimes areas of parkland or open spaces can become isolated from local communities, no longer serving the purpose for which it was intended.
Should the Council remove some areas of greenspace if these areas could be replaced with alternative sites that would be more accessible to local people?

4. Land Services together with other partners promote and deliver a wide range of events and activities that are well supported by local communities and many draw a considerable number of visitors to the city. This is an important role as attracting more visitors and tourists has an impact on the economic health of the city and helps to consolidate Glasgow as a stylish destination for tourists
What could the Council do to encourage more community involvement in events and activities in parks?

5. The Display Houses at Queens Park, Tollcross, Botanic Gardens and Glasgow Green Winter Gardens offer visitors the opportunity of viewing extensive collections of tropical and subtropical plants, displayed within a glasshouse setting.
Do you think that plant display houses currently offer enough interest for visitors. If not, how could they be improved?

6. There are a number of children’s play areas sited within parks. These usually consist of fixed equipment such as swings, chutes and climbing frames.
What types of children’s play facilities would you like to see provided in parks?

7. Outwith the provision of formal traditional play areas, there is a need to provide suitable youth facilities in parks. The provision of facilities for skateboarding, BMX bikes and in-line skating have been provided in response to local demand. There are facilities at Queens Park Recreation Ground, Barrachnie Park, Orchard Park and Darnley with additional skate parks to be provided at Nethercraigs and Kelvingrove Park.
What types of youth facilities would you like to see provided in parks?

8. A major issue in maintaining play areas to a high quality is the problem of misuse and vandalism. This can often lead to items of equipment having to be removed or closed for safety reasons.
What measures do you think should be taken to combat problems of vandalism to play equipment?

9. Municipal golf is available at 5 courses in Glasgow on a pay and play basis and in recent years usage figures have been declining. The clubhouse facilities are in need of upgrading and considerable investment is required to improve comfort and facilities.
Should the Council continue to develop and promote golf as a recreational activity?

10. Horse riding is available at Linn Equestrian Centre and caters for all ages and abilities.
Should the Council continue to develop and promote horse riding as a recreational activity?

11. Outdoor activities that are currently provided within Glasgow parks during the summer are, pitch and putt, tennis and bowling. In general, usage figures have declined in recent years.
What other recreational activities would you like to see provided in parks?

12. Various surveys indicate that the public feel there is a lack of general amenities such as toilets and catering facilities in parks.
Would you support the Council entering into arrangements with commercial operators to provide; you support the Council entering into arrangements with
An enhanced golf service?
Expanded horse riding services?
Pony trekking?
Five-a-side football?
Café/Restaurant facilities?

13. The parks service also maintains farm and livestock operations in Pollok Country Park, Glasgow Green and Tollcross Park. These are popular visitor attractions but are only available in a small number of parks.
Do you think that there should be more animal and bird display areas within parks?

14. Recent surveys of both adults and children reveal that personal safety in parks is a concern. It is intended that the review will address this issue by developing local strategies to improve the feeling of personal safety in our parks and open spaces. The basic opening hours for our parks are traditionally from dawn till dusk, at the height of winter this can be from 09:00 till 16:00.
Do you agree that, where possible, parks that have gates should have them locked at night?

What measures do you think the Council could take to improve your personal safety in parks and open spaces?

15. Litter and broken glass is a problem in parks and open spaces and the Council spend considerable sums of money each year clearing litter from parks.
Can you suggest any ways in which the Council could enlist the help of local communities in assisting with the problem of litter in parks and open spaces?

16. Just over half of the people who took part in The Citizen’s Panel survey in autumn 2003 said that dog fouling was the poorest aspect of Glasgow’s parks. This is a difficult issue for the Council to deal with as it depends largely on the willingness of dog owners to be responsible and remove it themselves. There are already waste bins, dog exercise areas and enforcement initiatives undertaken in selected parks.
What measures do you think the Council should take to combat the problems of dog control and dog fouling in parks and open spaces?

17. Thinking about all aspects of Glasgow’s Parks
If there was one single change or improvement to be made to the Parks Service what would you propose?

18 . Roadside verges central reservations and roundabouts are considered an integral part of the greenspace network across the City. Many road verges throughout the city are in disrepair due to inappropriate parking practice by local car owners and as a result of damage done by vehicles.
Should the Council adopt a policy of replacing areas of grass verges and soft landscaping damaged by parked cars with hard standing areas?

19. A Play Area Improvement Programme is underway to identify old, derelict or poor quality play areas in need of upgrading or replacement to meet safety standards and to improve levels of provision in line with the City Plan standards. Until now, replacement and improvement programmes have been based on the provision of specially designed and constructed play equipment. There is an opportunity to consider other approaches such as home zones, where informal play facilities are designed into local streets, or to adopt an approach based on play landscapes rather than play equipment.
What should the priorities be for the improvement of children’s play provision?

20. Glasgow has a range of woodland areas consisting of trees in parks, trees in streets, new woodland plantings and older wooded areas. The Council is developing a City Woodland Initiative to address the woodlands and their management as a single resource.
Do you agree that the Council should work in partnership with other agencies to extend and develop woodlands in the city for environmental and leisure purposes?

21. Allotments are recreational facilities provided by the Council that enable residents to participate in gardening activities. The Council is working to develop partnerships with local allotment associations aimed at improving the management, quality and layout of allotment holdings. Horticultural advice is available from Land Services to plot holders and allotment associations.
How can the Council best support the development of allotments in the City?

22. Thinking about all aspects of parks and open spaces.
Are there any other aspects of parks & open space maintenance that you would like to see changed or improved?

23. Glasgow’s parks and open spaces contain a rich variety of landscapes ranging from designed parks such as Kelvingrove and Queens Park to the natural landscapes of Dawsholm and Pollok Country Park. Within these environments there is a vast range of habitats and species in woodlands, ponds, rivers, wetlands and meadows.

Land Services works in partnership with Education Services and a number of other agencies to develop various environmental education and awareness programmes.
There is also an Environmental Centre in Tollcross Park that focuses on raising awareness of environmental issues and promoting education to residents and visitors.
Should the Council continue to extend the range of environmental interpretation and information services that it provides throughout the city?

24. Signage and environmental interpretation is important to assist visitors understand the purpose and rationale behind providing wildlife conservation sites. Good interpretation leads to a better visitor experience and raises people’s awareness, which increases their enjoyment and ensures that heritage is passed on to future generations.
How could signage and interpretation of wildlife and conservation sites be improved?

25. There are currently two designated Local Nature reserves in Glasgow, Hogganfield Park and Bishop Loch. Through Land Services involvement with wildlife conservation areas, there has been a notable increase in several plant and animal species. Previous surveys have highlighted the general public’s desire for further wildlife conservation sites in the city and its parks.
Can you suggest ways in which local communities could become more involved in the management and development of identified nature conservation sites?

Are there any other aspects of the management of Glasgow’s ecology and environment that you would like to see changed or improved?


26. Within Glasgow there are 32 burial locations for which the Council have maintenance responsibility. However currently there are only 5 locations with the potential to accommodate new burial lairs.

Many memorial stones in the city’s graveyards have been vandalised or otherwise damaged. Whilst Glasgow City Council has overall responsibility for the safety of the cemetery, the Council do not own the headstones. The owners of the memorial are normally the family of the deceased. In many cases there may not be an identifiable owner to deal with any damage.

There have been complaints from the public regarding the poor quality and variety of memorials available from the council. This has led to an increase in unauthorised memorabilia throughout the cemeteries which creates problems for access, ground maintenance and health & safety.
Do you believe that the Council should be stricter in allowing only particular kinds of memorials and headstones to be placed on or around graves?

Would you support the Council removing non-permanent memorials from graves, after a specified period of time, where they have become unsightly?

27 .One of the major problems facing cemeteries is vandalism, this includes toppled headstones, flower beds being destroyed, graffiti and stolen or burned out cars.
Would you support the Council in using powers under the restorative justice scheme to make good any damage caused by vandalism?

28. There have been regular requests from members of the public who have been unable to tend family graves, for the Council to introduce a grave tending service. The type of service that could be made available would involve headstone cleaning, planting out, and tending to plants.
Would you support the introduction of a grave tending service for which a charge would be made?

29. Due to a lack of lair space, consideration has to be given to alternatives. One such alternative could be woodland burials where only one interment takes place and a tree is planted to mark the area. This is a new concept in burial management.
Should the Council consider developing facilities for woodland burials within Glasgow?

30. The environmental and visual value of cemeteries to the local community can be important. There can be environmental benefits in turning old burial areas into wildlife reserves, increasing bird and other wildlife population, creating a valuable resource, which enhances leisure and educational possibilities for the community. This process does not impact on graves visited by mourners.
Should the Council develop cemetery and burial grounds as habitats for nature conservation as well as their primary purpose?

31. Land Services are responsible for Linn Crematorium in the south west of the city and Daldowie Crematorium in the east of the city.

The time that is allowed for cremation services is an issue often raised by relatives of the deceased, particularly where there are several cremations booked in succession. A time of 30 minutes is allocated per service but a range of factors contribute to this sometimes being insufficient. These factors include the custom to meet and greet prior to, or after the service, the funeral cortège not arriving on time and comprehensive religious services being carried out at the crematorium rather than at the church.
Do you support the idea of extending the length of time for cremation services even if this were to increase the cost?


Are there any other aspects of the management of Glasgow’s burial and cremation service that you would like to see changed or improved?


Are there any other comments you would like to make about the Review of Glasgow’s Parks and Open Spaces?



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Colonisation page

City parks to invite private companies to join in shake-up


GLASGOW’S reputation as the “dear green place” is to be reinforced with a multi-million pound plan to breathe new life into its parks and open spaces.

The council is expected to approve a masterplan for the city’s 74 parks which will allow private companies to provide a range of facilities.

Golf driving ranges, garden centres, cafes and restaurants will all be considered for inclusion in city parks and open spaces.

The review followed an extensive public consultation. More than 3,000 children responded with their views on the parks and open spaces and 670 members of the public and organisations contributed.

Key issues of concern included safety and security, dog fouling, insufficient toilets and the lack of a visual presence of park attendants and rangers.

This year, the council will spend 41 million on maintaining the city’s parks and other outdoor areas such as golf courses and allotments.

However, Robert Booth, the director of land services, said that figure should increase by 9 million next year, with 3 million of the total coming from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

He added: “We’re asking the council for a substantial investment in the parks.

“The latest poll we did shows the parks are still highly regarded by the public.

“This isn’t a service which is sick, but we can work with others to make the service better before there is any dip in use.”

Glasgow’s parks currently attract up to 20 million visitors a year.

The collection is divided into five city parks, such as Pollok and Kelvingrove parks, 12 district and 57 local parks.

However, Mr Booth said he was keen to see the management of the parks overhauled, so that decisions on their future are taken at a local level, with managers empowered to implement change.

Local communities will also be encouraged to put forward their own plans.

Mr Booth admitted that during the review, the possibility of the parks being run by an external organisation was considered. However, the option was dismissed amid fears that private contractors may charge for some of the facilities which are currently free.

Aileen Colleran, the convener of the parks and facilities committee, gave an assurance that none of the city’s parks and open spaces would be sold off to private companies such as housing developers.

She added: “We’re kicking off the debate about our parks and what we want to use our public spaces for.

“My gut reaction is that the people of Glasgow will say it’s not before time.”

The council hopes to encourage greater use of the parks as part of its agenda to tackle the city’s poor health record.

Already, the city’s parks have been undergoing a multi-million pound makeover, with the Kibble Palace being restored and glass houses in Tollcross Park resurrected.

Skateboarders have been flocking to a new 350,000 facility at Kelvingrove Park which opened at the weekend and a mountain bike trail which opened earlier this month at Pollok Park.

If accepted, the new strategy will be implemented from March next year.